A Wrinkle in Time is a book I wish I would’ve read as a child, although as an adult I was still pretty impressed with it. I just kept wonder what my small self would’ve thought of it.
Meg Murry has trouble in school. She’s a smart kid, especially when it comes to math, but she has a temper and lands her in trouble more often than not. She has a lot to worry about too — her father, a government scientist, has been missing for months and it’s taking a toll on the Murry family. During a late night thunderstorm, Meg sneaks down to the kitchen for a snack and finds her little brother, Charles Wallace, already there. Soon their mother joins them and then the eccentric new neighbor, Mrs. Whatsit, shows up unexpectedly. After an eventful night, Meg’s next day is shot and she can’t wait to get home from school. Later, Meg and Charles Wallace head off to visit Mrs. Whatsit when they run into her classmate, Calvin O’Keefe. After some questions, Charles Wallace decides Calvin can come with them and the three set off. They meet the neighbors, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and a third Mrs. W who announces that they can help the kids get Mr. Murry back. The three children are then transported to another planet to help their father escape.
When I was reading, I got semi-wrapped up in the story and didn’t really think about the heavier aspects of it until I’d finished. One, the science fiction aspect is huge and I would have loved to have heard about wormholes before I discovered Star Trek. Another time… There is a strong religious element although, again, this one didn’t hit me until I realized that some of the quotes Mrs. Who was rattling off were bible passages. The Whatits are also, and maybe I’m remembering this wrong, at one point referred to as angel-like. Not being a religious person, these things usually pass over my head in most books.
Character wise, I loved Meg. She’s feisty, doesn’t like to hear she’s wrong, and happy to be a little different than most. She fights back when IT on the planet of Camazotz tells her he can make her happy just like everyone else. She tells him she doesn’t want to be like everyone else. Yep, an “Ahh,” moment for me. Meg has her quirks, but overall, she’s such a sweet character that I could see my small self really liking her. Although, Charles Wallace gave me the creeps. He’s a child of about five but he’s more like 30 and I found him to be a tad much at times. I wanted to like him, but his speaking like an adult one minute and being on the verge of a temper tantrum the next was weird.
The adult version of me was happy to see that L’Engle didn’t back off when it came to tough issues for what are essentially children — a missing father, school problems, family issues, etc. As child me, I probably never would have noticed that and simply thought this was just their life. Interesting how that happens. Oh, the years, they bring perspective.
Has anyone out there read the entire series? Is it worth it? I’m thinking of continuing but worried the rest might not live up to this one.
This was a BHA Book Club read and you can find more comments here. It was an April 2012 pick but I’m behind on reviews so this is a May review instead.
A Wrinkle in Time
By Madeleine L’Engle
Farrar, Straus and Giroux